This I Believe

Jae-yun - Korea South
Entered on December 17, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Although I am a Korean, I had spent my childhood at America until I was 8 years old as my dad had been studying abroad in Madison, Wisconsin. Flashing back, I have lots of wonderful memories at the states and especially Christmas is the most memorable holiday. I remember as soon as the calendar changed into December, I begged my parents to take out the Christmas tree and decorated it with red, green, and silver ornaments and then counted down for December 25 wishing for a present from Santa. However, after I moved to Korea, my family was busy adapting to the Korean society; my dad was always at work, my mom was ill and I had to study hard to follow school so I could not think of enjoying Christmas for years.

Now I am 25 years old and decided to spend time with my parents for a while after earning a master’s degree this year rather than finding for a job. As it turned to December I realized that I was missing Christmas for a long time. So I looked for the Christmas tree. There it was in the very back corner of the closet waiting for me to come. I swept away spider webs that were around it and blew off a thick layer of dust. As soon as I took the tree out of the box, there was a little green plastic pine tree, and I couldn’t help but wonder who have trimmed and shrunk the tree.

I decided to decorate the tree with reforming old stuffs I kept. With a couple of ribbon, I made loops and attached it to toys and dolls and transformed them to ornaments. There was a wooden Pinocchio my dad bought from Paris, a little jewelry box in which my ex-boyfriend put a necklace and a pretty doll my friend made for me. I also made snow fakes and tide a big silver ribbon on the very top and finished decorating the Christmas tree. It looked so beautiful but in someway it looked like me.

While looking at the Christmas tree I decorated, I realized that my life was like this decorated Christmas tree waiting for the day everybody will adore me. Indeed, I was decorating myself with degrees, certificates, work experiences as well as wearing good clothes and shoes to look gorgeous to others. I realized that despite of the outstanding career and appearance, I should be like a pine tree always green and straight whether the environment is cold or warm and bad or good.

I had thought that the most important thing in life was to have a successful career which means obtaining a great position at work and earning lots of money. But now I believe that success is not how I appear to others and the way people look at me but always being thankful of who I am and keeping faith and righteous inside me in any circumstances as a green pine tree.